Two brothers survive a plane crash (a crash in which their father dies, but they don’t seem too broken up about the sad event), and find themselves washed up on the island of Dinotopia. As the name implies, this is a land where humans and dinosaurs co-exist. We explore this island with the brothers, and get caught up in their quest to help save this world in its hour of peril. The characters here are a long way from believable, and so the main draw is the special effects, which are, by telev…sion standards, most impressive.
The 2.0 mix does a very nice job with both the music and the sound effects. Both have a strong surround presence. If anything, the rear speaker components are too strong, sometimes dominating. One of the consequences of this is that the dialogue is sometimes drowned out in the ruckus.
This is a television miniseries, so the picture is naturally fullscreen. The colours and blacks are all terrific, with excellent contrasts. The television origins are sometimes pretty apparent however, with some shots all-too-obviously shot on video.
This release is quite strong in extras, with the slant generally being toward the younger viewer. The main page of the menu is fully animated and scored, as are the transitions and some of the secondary pages. For older viewers, there are the behind-the-scenes features: “Evolution: The Making of Dinotopia” (your usual promo featurette); an interview with composer Trevor Jones (much more interesting than the featurette); and a storyboard-to-film comparison of the T-Rex attack. The “Dinotopia Encyclopedia” features “Dinosaur Data” (animated introductions to nine of the dinosaurs), the Saurian alphabet and an interactive guide through Dinotopia. This encyclopedia section is primarily for the kids. Also present: an animated photo gallery, trailers (for Dinotopia, Jack & the Beanstalk, Snow White, Stranded, Snow Queen and The Hallmark Channel), cast and filmmaker bios, two deleted scenes, some game ads, DVD-ROM features, and “26’s Maze Game” (wherein you move your little dinosaur through a maze looking for some light stones).
Twenty-five years ago, this would have seemed like the greatest movie ever made to me. So I think a lot of young viewers will love it. Better developed characters would not have been amiss, however.
Special Features List
- The Making of Dinotopia Featurette
- Interview with Composer Trevor Jones
- Storyboard-to-Film Comparison
- Dinosaur Data
- Saurian Alphabet
- Travel Through Dinotopia
- 3-D Motion Photo Gallery
- Cast and Crew Bios
- Deleted Scenes
- Video Game Promotional Material
- DVD-ROM Features